Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal, though in the United States, it is usually from adult cattle. It is a favorite cut of beef for smoking (just ask anyone from Texas), though any kind of slow cooking method is necessary because of the nature of the muscle tissue: cattle do not have collar bones, so these muscles support a majority of the cattle’s weight (up to 60% or so) whether standing or moving. As such, there is a significant amount of connective tissue that needs to be cooked thoroughly in order to make the meat tender.
Brisket readily takes marinades, whether dry or wet marinades; usually, with either marinade, it is recommended that the meat bask in the marinade for 24 hours: in a roasting pan, apply the dry rub all around or pour your wet marinade over the meat; cover the pan with aluminum foil or cellophane, place in your refrigerator, and rotate the meat every eight hours or so with a wet rub. The recipe below does not require a marinade; however, for those who do not enjoy hot sauce, one of the two marinades would be an appropriate substitute.
- 6 mild yellow or red chiles or 3 yellow or red bell peppers
- 4 hot yellow chiles (such as banana or Hungarian wax peppers), seeds removed
- 4 medium-hot red chiles (such as Fresno or jalapeño), seeds removed
- 1 (4-pound) beef brisket, preferably from the point end
- 1 large red onion, cut through root end into 6 wedges
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled, or use minced garlic
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Hot sauce
- Light brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Any Dry Rub (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Arrange chiles on a wire rack on stovetop over a gas flame and roast, turning occasionally, until blistered and lightly charred. (Or roast one at a time using tongs, or use the broiler.)
- Stir vinegar, brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp. hot sauce (or more if you desire) in a small bowl; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Season brisket generously with salt and sprinkle with pepper; cook, fat side down, until bottom side is deep golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Add onion and garlic to pot and cook, reducing heat if needed, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet with brisket.
- Remove pot from heat and place brisket in pot, fat side up. Pour reserved vinegar mixture over and arrange garlic and blistered chiles around. (Note: if you have a favorite rub, sprinkle it on at this point.) Place onion on top of chiles. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise until brisket is fork-tender and shreds easily, 3–3 1/2 hours. Transfer brisket, onion, chiles, and garlic to a platter and let cool 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place pot over medium-high heat and bring braising liquid to a boil. Cook until thick and syrupy, 10–15 minutes. Taste pan sauce and season with more hot sauce and salt, if needed.
- Serve brisket, onion, chiles, and garlic with pan sauce drizzled over.
SIDE DISHES: Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Raw Vegetables (radishes, tomatoes, green onions, etc.)